Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag takes over as India's new Army Chief July 31 | Gen Bikram Singh, his predecessor, was given a warm ceremonial farewell | IAF Chief, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha, takes over as Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) | IAF Receives its 6th Boeing C-17 Globemaster III | Most International flights to Israel suspended after a Hamas rocket lands a mile away from Ben Gurian airport | IATA to make a review announcement July 23 while Israeli Air Force says panic is unneeded | Israel says will respond to Hamas attacks with more intensity | Ben Gurian airport in Tel Aviv handles nearly 500 flights daily, and so far there is no hit | Airlines careful after Malaysian flight MH 17 was shot down by a powerful missile over Ukraine last week | Negotiations for Rafale aircraft acquisition are "on," says Indian Defence Minister Jaitley| Dassault's offer for ToT is also compliant to requirements, he said in Parliament July 22 | Notably, Air Chief Arup Raha had told India Strategic recently to expect an announcement "sooner than later" | Indian Budget 2014: Defence gets US$ 38 billion (Rs 229,000 crores) | Approx. $ 16 billion (Rs 95000 crores) should go towards overall modernisation and equipment | Finance (and Defence) Minister Arun Jaitley describes defence as a priority | Budget 2014 is higher by $ 4 billion over Budget 2013 | Welfare measures for military and paramilitary personnel also being strengthened | Defence acquisition procedures will be given speed, Jaitley saysFDI in Defence increased from 26% but limited to 49% | Limitation same for FDI in airlines, due to oppossition from Indian industrialists | Boeing, Emirates Finalize Order for 150 777Xs | US to sell 22 Harpoon Block II anti-shipping missiles to Indian Navy | India Puts Five Foreign Satellites in Space June 30 | Prime Minister Modi describes the Successful Launch as Global Endorsement of India's Space Capability | ISRO's PSLV rocket carried French, German, Canadian (two) and Singapore satellites | India has launched 40 foreign satellites to date since 1999 | India Decontrols Rules for Private Companies to make Defence Goods | Weapon Systsems like Aircraft, Tanks, Ships and Munitions will need Licences though | Indian Army's acquisition of 39 Boeing AH 64D Apaches also cleared | Indian Ministry of Defence in quick clearance mode for pending acquisition proposals | Defence Minister Arun Jaitley says armed forces will be given full support | US Air Force Awards Sikorsky $ 1.28 billion Contract to Develop New Combat Search & Rescue Helicopter | Lockheed Martin will fit major mission systems for the CSAR helicopter | New aircraft will be developed around Army's UH 60M Black Hawk stealthy variant used in Operation Geronimo | Total CSAR programme cost for 112 helicopters to touch $ 8 billion, says USAF | French Nexter ties with India's L&T and Ashok Leyland to make artillery guns for Indian Army | RUAG ties with Indian TASL to produce Dornier 228 NG for exports | TASL will initially make fuselages, and then possibly the full Dornier 228 - 212 NG aircraft | RUAG gives orders for 12 fuselages to Tata Advanced Systems Ltd | TASL also makes Sikorsky S 92 fuselages at Hyderabad in India | Boeing-led Missile Defense Team Achieves Intercept in Complex Exoatmospheric Flight Test | Boeing 737 MAX LEAP-1B Engine Begins Ground Testing | RUAG develops world's first Electronic Flare Simulator for testing and training |
 

Aerial dogfights will remain relevant forever,

says ace pilot

 
By Vishnu Makhijani Published : October 2007
 
 
 
     
 

Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh). In an era of beyond visual range (BVR) and fire-and-forget missiles, the art of aerial combat -- dogfights in military parlance -- will forever be relevant, says an ace Indian Air Force (IAF) pilot who commands a squadron of the cutting edge technology Sukhoi Su-30MKI combat jets at this sprawling frontline airbase in north India.

“It’s been proved time and again that no matter what the technology at your command, the man in the machine is paramount. Thus, the art of aerial dogfights will forever be relevant,” says Wing Commander N N Sinha.

“A BVR missile can miss its target, resulting in the pilot trying again to hit the target. This means he has to fly closer to the target and this raises the immediate possibility of aerial combat with enemy aircraft,” he told IANS in an interview here.

In this context, he noted that even the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, currently the only operational fifth generation fighter in the world, retains its guns, as do other advanced jets like the Su-30MKI, the Eurofighter Typhoon, the Boeing F/A-18 and the Lockheed Martin F-16.

“Guns take up space that could otherwise house missiles and other weapons. So why are they still there? Because the need for fighting your way out of a tricky situation could arise any time,” Wg Cdr Sinha explained.

The term dogfight first emerged during the First World War when rickety biplanes were used as mobile observation vehicles and pilots gave little thought to aerial combat and even waved at enemy pilots.

The more intrepid pilots then decided to go further by throwing grenades and even bricks at opposing aircraft. This progressed to pilots firing hand-held guns at enemy planes and once machine guns were mounted on aircraft, the era of air combat truly began.

The art has been refined over the years and reached its zenith during World War II and the Vietnam War of the 1960s and 1970s. This prompted major air forces around the world to create specialized institutions to hone the skills of their fighter pilots in the art of aerial combat.

Thus, if the US has its Fighter Weapons School at Miramar in California -- better known by its sobriquet TOPGUN -- India has the less romantic sounding Tactical and Combat Development Establishment (TACDE) at the Gwalior Air Force base at Madhya Pradesh in central India.

And for once, these two premier air forces are almost matched -- when it comes to the frontline jets they hold on their inventories. In repeated war games over the past few years, the IAF Su-30MKIs have consistently held their own against the US F-16s and F-18s, leading the US Air Force (USAF) to grudgingly admit that they are worthy adversaries.

That’s not all.

At a joint war game at Gwalior in 2006, the Su-30 repeatedly triumphed over the Royal Air Force (RAF) Tornadoes, prompting the British to field their latest acquisition, the Typhoon at the England-end of the exercise earlier this year.

By all accounts, the honours were evenly matched -- and Wg Cdr Sinha is not surprised.

“With its thrust vector engines and canards, the Su-30MKI can perform unbelievably in the air as it possesses abilities that its competitors do not,” he observed.

The thrust vector engines enable the pilot to direct the aircraft into a 180 degree vertical climb, while the canards -- rotatable winglets just behind the cockpit -- permit the aircraft to adjust to the adverse wind flow which results from such a manoeuvre. This means that the aircraft can actually stand on its tail at great heights and then snap back into a 90-degree level to continue combat.

“This gives us tremendous advantage as in normal dogfights, aircraft weave and turn, but with the Su-30, a pilot can climb vertically and literally snap back like a cobra striking,” the IAF officer explained.

Not surprisingly, therefore, Wg Cdr Sinha’s is the first squadron of Su-30MKIs that have been made fully operational at Bareilly to increase the IAF’s strategic reach against China. Another squadron of the fighters will reach a similar status here within a year, while two more squadrons will be deployed at Tezpur in Assam to guard the eastern frontiers against China.

It may be recalled that Bareilly hosted the super secret half-a-dozen Mig 25 Foxbat aircraft of the Indian Air Force till last year, when they were phased out after a glorious 25-year service. The Mig 25s flew at three times the speed of sound at 80000 to 100000 feet, or just the edge of earth’s atmosphere.

 
  India Strategic  
     
   
 
Top Stories
Indian Navy LCA to soon begin test flights
Boeing Forecasts Demand for 36,770 New Airplanes Valued at $5.2 Trillion
Boeing, Emirates Finalize Order for 150 777Xs
IAF plans early induction of Rafale
VVIP Helicopter: IAF to upgrade Mi-17 V5
NASA and Boeing Sign Space Launch System Contract
Airbus takes a leap with A320neo
Airbus Ready with Contract for A330 MRTT for IAF
BrahMos marks Grand Success with $ 5 billion worth of Orders
Tata group to Produce Dornier 228 NG Fuselage and Wings
US Navy has its first four star Lady Admiral
US to sell more Harpoon missiles for Indian Navy
Boeing Offers Next-Generation KC-46 Tanker in Korea Competition
Boeing Delivers 1,500th 747
Indian Navy sends Warship to US for Exercise
Indian Tata group produces first Advanced Composite Floor for Boeing 787-9 Dreamliner
Northrop Grumman Receives $3.6 Billion Multiyear Contract for 25 E-2D Advanced Hawkeye Aircraft
India puts five foreign satellites into orbit
Sikorsky Awarded US Air Force Contract to Develop New Combat Rescue Helicopter
Nexter, L&T and Ashok Leyland team up for Indian Army's MGS Artillery Programme
 
     
 Home | Contact Us| In the Press| Links| Downloads
© 2008-14, India Strategic. All rights reserved.